Boarding the Coffee Express.

Perhaps, if I had another coffee, I’d find it easier to rewind through the last week and actually remember what happened instead of feeling like I’ve been run over by by a huge truck with Christmas painted on the side. Actually, to be fair, I can’t really blame Christmas. It’s more the eminent end to yet another year when the end of the school year collides with dance, violin and school concerts and the Scout Christmas camp has been thrown in the mix as well. However, don’t let my rant deceive you. I love it all. I just wish I had more petrol in the tank or perhaps I just need the really good stuff instead of the budget variety. It’s not the time of year to skimp and use cheap fuel.

Rewinding to Wednesday, I caught the train down to Sydney to go to the Dentist at Kirribilli, which is just across the road from the pedestrian walkway over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. After more than 2 hours in the chair where I swear he drilled deep into the foundations of The Bridge deep beneath the earth, I decided to spoil myself and caught a ferry across the Harbour to Circular Quay. It was an absolutely glorious Summer day and every time I take this trip, I love it just as much as the first time. More than simply being an architectural wonder, the Bridge feels like a part of me and has somehow woven its way through my memories and tunneled its way into my heart.

Speaking of The Bridge, on the train to Sydney I was reading a book on the history of The Bridge:

My Australian Story: Sydney Harbour Bridge by Vashti Ferrer
Published February 2012 Scholastic. I am loving all the detailed anecdotes throughout. I’ll be disappointed when it’s finished.

Arriving in Circular Quay with my mouth still paralyzed from the unaesthetic, I sought out soup and coffee and found myself in an authentic French cafe in The Rocks, which is located in the former Police Station. I sat outside but you can actually dine inside the cells. I am definitely heading back with the kids. They’ll love it. What an adventure!

As you’ll probably appreciate, this time of year isn’t just about Christmas or the Summer holidays, especially if it’s Winter at your place. It is also the end of the Australian school year and reports have just come home and speech day has been and gone. Both kids had great reports and received quite a few “highs”.

As we all know, it’s often hard to navigate your way through school report lingo which while intended to inform parents, inevitably requires translation in itself. I liked it back in the good old days when you had varying degrees of A B C D. We all knew what that meant. Our reports are Outstanding which apparently means you’re ahead of stage, High, Sound which is where most students will fit and thankfully I haven’t had to worry about the rest.

Anyway, Mister received a surprise award. Not from the powers that be but from last week’s Year 6 Fete. He won the award for “Being able to Stretch a Jelly Snake the Longest”. In fact, he told me through all his triumphant laughter and excitement that he was indeed the reigning champion because he’d also won last year. While I initially failed to appreciate the significance of his achievement, once he started explaining the science, thought and planning which had gone into his efforts, I was actually rather impressed. Apparently, you have to pull it fast to 25cm and then move slowly and if it starts to tear to go back to 25cm and start over. I actually wonder if there isn’t some complex scientific equation at work here. Sure, it might not be a cure for cancer but it made us both smile and that has to be worth something!

While we’re on the subject of awards, my heart goes out to all the BPs or “Quiet Achievers” out there: So many of us conquer all sorts of incredible hurdles just to pull off the mundane pedestrian and yet these achievements go unsung and unrewarded but as far as I’m concerned, are a much bigger achievements than simply winging success through raw talent alone. I remember when I went to my 20 year school reunion after being diagnosed with my auto-immune disease and my big achievement was being able to sit on the floor and get up again. That simple movement had taken months of physio and incredible determination to pull off. No awards there.

I guess that’s why I love Mariah Carey’s hit: Hero:


Coffee at the Wyong Milk Factory, December, 2015.

Yesterday, my daughter and I traveled up to Wyong about 45 minutes drive North to enroll her in her new school and pick up her uniform. Miss has been selected to attend “Opportunity School”. These classes run for the last two years of Primary school and you have to sit an entry test. Miss was initially on a waiting list but quickly got through and we found ourselves saying goodbye to the kids’ primary school, which has been our second home for 7 years and we’re moving on.


A rather reluctant chocolate tester at Luka Chocolates.

After picking up her uniform and having another look around the school, we headed out to the Wyong Milk Factory, which is home to the Little Creek Cheese Factory and Luka Chocolates. I’ve been to the cheese factory before and you can read about my Adventures of a Cheesy here:


Well, you can just imagine we were happy little mice!

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before our son starts high school next year and his last days of primary school are running out.  I still remember when he first saw “Big School” and he said it was “too big” and absolutely refused to go through the gate, despite the lovely encouragement of the Year 6 student on the gate. He now tells me that Primary School is “too small” and I guess I’m pleased that he feels he’s outgrown it and is ready for the next challenge.  Tuesday, they have the Year 6 Farewell and then Wednesday…It’s all over red rover. The rest of the school forms a tunnel and Year 6 is gone.

Mister doing News at school in kindergarten, aged 5. He was talking about his Great-Grandmother’s funeral.


For those of you with an interest in education, I thought I’d mention that our son has been selected for the AVID class next year. I do intend to write more about it down the track but it really does sound like an exciting way of learning. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.  It’s focus is preparing students for university and they have uni students come  and work with them in the classroom. Apparently, it has achieved excellent results.

Meanwhile, while there’s a general preoccupation elsewhere with the number of sleeps before Christmas, we still have next weekend ahead. Saturday is the annual dance concert and today we had a rehearsal and tomorrow is photo  call. So, after dropping Miss off at rehearsal, I was off to stockpile bobby pins, hairnets, makeup and nail polish remover. Thank goodness all these hair dramas only come round once or twice a year and she can go back to looking like the Little Matchgirl afterwards. After the concert, she’s off to join her brother at the annual Christmas Scout Camp at the hall and Mum and Dad might even be sleeping over. That could be fun. It’s on the waterfront and we do have stretcher beds. All the same, I am concerned about how much sleep we may or, more likely, won’t get. Not that I’m one to stay up talking all night myself!

Did I mention the school carol service tomorrow night? Nativity Church service Friday night? We also have a dog walkers’ Christmas party at the beach. Oh yes…2 medical appointments in Sydney this week as well. I don’t know why I’m still out of bed!


By the way, if you’re wanting to get into the Christmas spirit, you can visit Solveig Werner at has been running an Advent Calender on her blog featuring guest bloggers. I will be coming up on the 17th writing a comic piece about Christmas in the Australian heat. I have also reblogged this post about Virginia’s famous letter to the newspaper asking whether Santa is real. I also posted the words of a modern Australian Christmas Carol, Aussie Jingle Bells, which is incredibly cringe-worthy but I love it regardless.


Speaking of Christmas, we buy a fresh Christmas tree every year and as yet, I have absolutely no idea how we’re going to fit it in and how I’m going to find the time to make room. Is it still Christmas without your own Christmas tree? The home made Christmas cake seems to be succumbing to a similar fate. Although I have bought the ingredients, I haven’t even boiled the fruit yet and it’s really been too hot. Ice cream anyone?

Golly, my Christmas guilt list is getting longer and longer!


How has your week been? Hope you’re going well and I’m looking forward to catching up on your news.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Part Time Monster and please check us out at the linky:

xx Rowena

The featured image was taken in a French cafe in The Rocks, Sydney. That cappuccino was huge…almost a  goldfish bowl. Indeed, aren’t there days you wouldn’t mind being a goldfish swimming round in a bowl of coffee when you need that extra buzz!










20 thoughts on “Boarding the Coffee Express.

  1. Corina

    I love coming to read about your daily jaunts around Sydney. Oh The Rocks! I want to be back there. I don’t think I’ll ever get the opportunity to visit again but if I do, I want to spend a little more time in The Rocks. I want to spend the night in the rooms above the Lord Nelson Pub! I love the pub and the food and the building. Now I just have to spend the night and explore it more, and the rest of the neighborhood!

  2. Solveig

    Wow, how can you remember everything you did this week? You sound a bit over booked Rowena!
    I am so glad that I’ll be having you on the 17th! With an Australian Christmas.
    Have a great Sunday, or what is left of it, erm, have a great Monday and a great week, might be more suitable no?
    Hugs, Solveig

  3. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Wow you lead a busy life Rowena. I guess that probably all mothers with two active children do but just hearing makes me feel tired. The ferry would have been a nice way to have a bit of a relax. Eating in a cell sounds like fun as long as the food isn’t prison fare. Stretching the jelly snake – LOL. I wonder how long he’ll hold that title. Perhaps Guiness book of Records coming up. It always amazes me how quickly children grow when it seems like yesterday they were just starting. I hope they both enjoy their new schools. Sounds like they are both prepared for the changes.
    Thanks for the coffee Rowena. That sure was a huge cup you were drinking but then you had a lot to tell us it saves on filling it up again. Have a good week. Cheers Irene

  4. Norah

    I’m exhausted just reading your post, Rowena. It’s such a hectic time of year. I’ve always considered it a disadvantage to have all the end of the year, end of school year and Christmas obligations rolled into one. It makes for a hectic time. We need the weeks after Christmas to recuperate. There’s no winding down in advance.
    I think you deserved your trip across the Harbour and ginormous coffee after two hours in the dentist chair!
    The AVID program your son will be involved in sounds excellent. I look forward to hearing more about it as time goes on; also about your daughter’s Opportunity School. It’s funny, back when I was at school an Opportunity School was for children with learning difficulties and special needs. How use of the words change.
    I think there are many of us coming late to the Christmas party this year. You are not alone. I was thinking it might be a good idea to make the Christmas celebration biennial, but maybe that still wouldn’t give me time to be ready! I’m sure you will be ready for it when it arrives. After all, what choice is there? Enjoy it!

  5. Daisy Smiley Face

    OMG. I’m exhausted now. I’m headed back to bed. 🙂 Good thing it’s summer there. You’re going to need a vacation after all this! Have a great week! Sleep some! Don’t forget to sleep! ~Tara

  6. Diana

    I’m exhausted just reading about all the stuff you’re up to these days! Here’s hoping you get a little time to relax at some point soon. The holidays can be such a busy time—there always seems to be so much going on. Enjoy the bustle and festivities!

  7. Nooce Miller

    As I might have mentioned before, I am amazed at all the things you get done in a week! I am sorry for that two-hour stint in the dentist’s chair, something I certainly wouldn’t enjoy were it me instead, but perhaps everything has now been put right. What a treat to take the ferry ride. My twenty-seven year old memories of the Bridge (and the Rocks, and the Opera House, etc) that we explored during those fantastic summer days long ago are bright in my mind, and I could almost imagine myself there with you. Don’t you look lovely in that photo, holding your delicious huge cappuccino?!

    Congratulations to both Mister and Miss for their excellent reports. You perfectly captured (again) the hustle and bustle of school transitions and family life for me. My two sons are grown up (mostly!) and it does makes me nostalgic to think back on those days. Enjoy every crazy moment of it, because before you know it, they’ve flown the nest. Goodness, I sound like a weepy old lady, and I shouldn’t, because both boys were here with me today and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Thank you for such a nice weekend coffee share.

  8. New Journey

    Wow… a bout a whirlwind…sounds like things are happening down under….great educational move for the kids…looks like a good cup of coffee, even if it was a fish bowl…LOL
    SLow down, enjoy the holidays…..have fun on the beach with the dogs…..merry, merry, merry to all….xxkat

  9. Eli Pacheco

    That’s a beautiful whirlwind, Ro. Christmas is mad busy here, and in the Carolinas, it’s in the 70s this week (about 21 for you.) I love that you’re getting it in pictures and enjoying the ride.

  10. merrildsmith

    Well, you’ve had a busy week. I think you should get a bravery award for drinking coffee and eating soup with a numb mouth. 🙂
    The chocolates look scrumptious! Could you just pass a couple through?

    We’ve had unseasonably warm weather the past few days. My husband and I went to a really cool outdoor sculpture place yesterday, and I was walking around in short sleeves without a jacket.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  11. Minuscule Moments

    Block buster of a post there Rowena, so much going on. life in the country has slowed now and we finally get to sleep in for a couple of days before the festivities and family fun begin. All the best and I agree about awards my son never gets them and we get excited if he goes in the play or to a field day or camp. This stuff comes easy to most kids. But in our eyes he has come so far. Happy christmas shopping.

  12. roweeee Post author

    It’s not easy for many kids, yet for such a different range of reasons. I wrote a bit on facebook about this and received quite an enthusiastic response. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to check out the controversial speech by the departing School Captain of Ravenswood but she spoke about the dangers of perfectionism. It’s worth a listen.
    Speaking of Christmas shopping, I found a book series your daughter might like: “The Unprincess Diaries” illustrated by Sarah Davis. Did I mention that I did a 3 hour workshop with her at Woy Woy library recently and it was free? It was awesome. Thought of you, of course. I think I’ve finished the christmas shopping and it has finished us as well. Tomorrow, we have my daughter’s dance concert. Then, we can finally focus on Christmas.

  13. roweeee Post author

    Wow, Merril. Your weather is sounding unseasonably warm for over there. We had a tornado go through Southern Sydney yesterday. It was rated an F2, which I gather isn’t much compared to US tornadoes but we don’t generally get tornadoes here so it was a concern. My daughter has her dance concert tomorrow and I’m sort of looking forward to it but it’s a big production. Dress rehearsal in the morning and concert in the afternoon. She has a stunning white tutu for ballet. I’ll have to post some pictures. I want to get some shots of her in it down at the beach. It would look amazing.

  14. roweeee Post author

    So sorry you have a sick Kitty, Merril. Hope it’s okay. We had Bilbo off to the vet a month or so ago and it was a worry.
    Managed to get everyone out the door for dress rehearsal and scouts but have family turning up from Brisbane today of all days and couldn’t say no. We’re just having a quick catch up but the house is a mess. It’s been a dump and run site for a few weeks now. I know I should be working on that instead of writing but I needed to get my breath after the ballet tornado left. I had been planning on a little nap…

  15. merrildsmith

    Both of our cats were sick yesterday. (I was going to write our boys, but realized you might not know that I meant the cats.) 🙂 One is all better, but the other one, who seems to get weird bouts of not eating, had to get back to the vets’. They’re keeping him overnight, and the vet thinks he has irritable bowel syndrome. How weird is that? Hope you get some time to relax. Don’t worry about the house–that’s what closets and under the bed is for. 🙂

  16. roweeee Post author

    Tara, you are so right about the vacation. I have had a quiet couple of days but I also feel this urge to have our lives and house magically organised by Jan 1st…as though we’re new people with a clean slate for the new year. Ha! Who am I kidding?!! How are you going after Christmas? Have you had a break at all? xx Rowena

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.